Sea, welcoming beaches, strolls by the oleander, palm and pine greens, and sumptuous pauses near fresh fish stalls. Grottammare, a charming seaside resort of Riviera delle Palme, has been due to its very good climate, a famous tourist centre since the 17 th century.
More modern dwelling areas, which are pleasant and well cared for, have stretched along the coastline since the 18 th century. Then the early 20 th century saw the liberty buildings and detached houses which give the area an airy and elegant view. It was then in the thirties of the last century that Grottammare gave tourism a new push, above all from an entertainment point of view. The Kursaal saw the light of day as a renowned local dancehall now hosting performances and shows.
The latest trend of the past few years has been the striking promenade along the seaside, in a stretch linking the two centres of Grottammare and Cupra Marittima. Whether on foot or riding a bicycle, one feels the enjoyment of a full and direct contact with the sea, most fascinating in summer evenings due to the wonderful lighting.
Venturing inside the historical village on the hill, ancient gardens and perfumed orangeries are discovered. Orange growing, which is favoured by such a mild climate and which has become symbol of the locality, was first pushed forward by Bishop Bartolomeo Bacher. He is now buried in St John Baptist church, first built in the 14 th century and later rebuilt between the 18 th and 19 th centuries, which is one of the buildings abutting on the real and true jewel of the historical centre, Piazza Peretti.
The small square offers refined glimpses of the Priory building and civic tower, the 18 th century Orange Theatre and the loggia with an outstanding view over the Piceno waterfront. The whole village preserves its mediaeval features, its typical brickwork, traces of original stone paving, manor houses and several churches. Among these are St Augustine , the first church along the way outside the walls in the direction of the historical centre. It could be recognised from the cut off belfry which is traditionally linked with the stay, in the adjacent convent, of Martin Luther while travelling towards Rome to discuss the Schism, its ochre-hued façade and the stones and bricks with old incisions. S. Maria dei Monti, standing on the hill and once forming part of a conventual complex in the 17 th century and now situated in the Oasis of S. Maria ai Monti, is also very charming.
The ruins of a castle dug in a pine forest are there ready to be discovered. Probably dating back as far as the 10 th century, the castle stood in defence of Grottammare harbour. Also waiting to be discovered is the 12-13 th century is the girding stone wall, the 16 th century gates of Porta Marina and Porta Castello, and the two towers, the Torrione della Battaglia and the Torre di Guardia.
The town is rich with history and great characters. Pope Sixtus V was born there and he is actually referred to several times. The façade of the Teatro dell’Arancio displays a niche enshrining his statue and the square itself is named after him, Sixtus V previously known as Felice Peretti (1521-1590). St Lucy church, besides, desired by the same Pope, was built right over the place where he was born. Hanging over the portal, there could be clearly seen the Peretti family coat of arms (a lion holding a pear-tree branch with its legs and a star with three hills) and papal emblem. Its colours are beautiful, blending two typical materials found at Piceno, red-brown bricks and travertine. Grottammare has also given birth to the unforgettable Pericle Fazzini, “sculptor of the wind” who shaped the magnificent Resurrection in the Audience Hall in the Vatican.